“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
For those that have learned DBT techniques, the phrase “Build a Life Worth Living” may sound familiar. Dialectical Behavior Therapy, also known as DBT, is a therapeutic approach based from Zen Mindfulness practice. It places an emphasis on the balance between acceptance and change. DBT skills include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills which can help us recognize and increase awareness of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations while strengthening attention to the present moment. It is with this awareness that we can actually choose to respond rather than react.
For those that have ever said or done something they have regretted or struggled with later, this may speak to you. Why do we do the things we do over and over? Simply put, it is what we have learned to do. We are all doing the best we can, even if we know a ‘better’ way of doing things. Unless we are able to learn this more effective way, we will continue to just DO and react rather than BE and have the ability to choose. Having awareness of our own experiences and the tools to respond them ultimately places us back in the driver’s seat and in control of our own experience of life.
We often find ourselves going through the motions in our lives. We meet new people and forget their names, we lose our keys, our car in the parking lot, and find ourselves preoccupied with the future while we are planning and waiting to get to where we really want to be. This may come in the form of a new job, a relationship, a house, a vacation, etc. This concept may sound something like “when I… (fill in the blank here), things will be better and my life will be good, then I will be happy/content/without stress/successful/etc.” The thing is, life is happening now. Today! Wouldn’t it be great to be able to enjoy this moment, as it is?